The Guitar Gallery Forums - The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku

Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Dec 2021 01:03 PM 
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Joined: Sat 18 Dec 2021 12:43 PM
Posts: 4
Hi there--this is my first post here, and i'm glad to join you all!

I recently purchased this guitar: https://reverb.com/item/48174116-matsumoku-aria-ventura-electra-es-335-70-s-cherry-burst

I loved the look of it, the fact that it might be a Matsumoku, and I like the challenge of having to fix it up (looks like it will need some pretty serious repair/restoration).

I have a few concerns.

1) The price: I feel as though a Matsumoku ES-335 is pretty hard to come by--especially for this price tag.

2) The blank headstock. I asked for a closer picture of the headstock (thinking there was an issue with the lighting), and I received two pictures--the headstock for this guitar up close and the headstock of an "Electra" label guitar. The seller was suggesting that the build is identical to the other two guitars that he claims are Matsumoku (one being the Electra):

https://imgur.com/a/4nmvwx2

3) The bridge plate (is that what it's called? Or tail piece?) has a wood inlay like the photo you'll see below. However, the shape is different--notice the squared off top of the wood inlay compared to the diagonal top of the one from the catalog below.

4) The pickups are different than those seen in the catalog.

5) The volume and tone knobs appear to be different as well.

From my research (http://www.rivercityamps.com/electrapage/index.php?entry=entry071002-045431), the guitar I purchased looks to be an Electra 2229 Super Professional.

For additional reference/comparison, check out this one that was also sold on Reverb at some point: https://reverb.com/item/13085825-electra-2229-super-professional-aged-spruce-flame-maple-70-s-japanese-time-capsule

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

I would also like to know if you have any suggestions regarding the repair process for this guitar. Do you think I can get it back to 100%?

Thank you!

------------UPDATE 12/22/2021

Just got back from the guitar tech. This "semi-hollow" guitar does not have a complete center block. According to the tech, this means the guitar lacks structural integrity; the consequence is that (as Barry suggested) the neck pocket has shifted in towards the bridge pickup cavity, resulting in very high action.

Changing the angle of the bridge could be one "quick and dirty" trick to help lower the action, but, beyond that, it looks like this guitar won't be making a comeback.

I'm not (too) bitter that the seller's description was misleading (calling this guitar "a good player in the right hands"); however, I am disappointed that a guitar with alleged origins in Japan's "golden era" of guitar manufacturing would have such a fundamental design flaw.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. What do you think my take-aways should be?

It arrived today. Here are some pics: https://imgur.com/a/ykC62OE


Last edited by Electrakid2001 on Wed 22 Dec 2021 08:23 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat 18 Dec 2021 08:34 PM 
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Joined: Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:32 PM
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Hello "Kid" and welcome here.
You've done a good job with your homework, you appear to have a nice Mats made Electra there.

I don't know enough about the Electra line to comment definitively on it but, aside from a different pole treatment on the pickups everything appears to be the same.

Wow, but there is some funky damage going there, eh? The neck pocket shim compensation is wa-a-a-y out there!! From what I can see, it looks like either the guitar has been stepped on at the neck extension, or the neck itself has received a nasty blow from the rear (from a drop perhaps?).

Either way, the sound board has been crushed down mostly on the bass side and it looks like there may also be a crack inside(?). Someone has attempted, very badly, to pump glue into the space where the binding was separated. The 'oozeout' from whatever they used has spread all over the binding and finish.

It's difficult to say to what extent things are damaged from a few pictures. You'd have to remove the neck and pickup to have a proper look. But it is safe to say that there isn't anything that can't be made right again.

That would probably involve rebuilding the neck pocket, correcting the geometry of the top, gluing the cracks, likely adding some reinforcement or cleats, cleaning up the binding area and clamping down the top. A final touch up and refinishing would complete the project.

Possibly the trickiest part will be getting the correct angle in the neck pocket. Not rocket science but it'll take some patience. It will be worth all the effort though. She's a keeper! :up:

Are you doing the work yourself?

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"A little song, a little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
Guitars: https://legend.barryeames.com
Music/Pix/Videos: https://getback.barryeames.com


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PostPosted: Sun 19 Dec 2021 09:22 PM 
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Joined: Sat 18 Dec 2021 12:43 PM
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"You appear to have a nice Mats made Electra there."

no wayyy!!!

Thank you so much for the thorough response. I really appreciate it!

You mention the "different pole treatment on the pickups," which reminded me: I am looking to swap out the pickups for P-90's. Any thoughts on particular brands etc that I should look out for? Should I shop around some or just look for any P-90's that fit? I've never shopped specifically for pickups, so i'm not sure how that works.

I don't know enough about the Electra line to comment definitively on it but, aside from a different pole treatment on the pickups everything appears to be the same.

Cool detective work looking at the damage. I really appreciate your insight. I will not be attempting to handle this myself. I will be looking for someone in my area who can help with this project.

"It's safe to say that there isn't anything that can't be made right again."

SWEET

I'm really excited for my new guitar!!


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PostPosted: Sun 19 Dec 2021 10:08 PM 
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
I'm a big P90 fan and yes they would sound great in this guitar.
But I wouldn't rush to replace the originals until you can hear them first, properly.
In my experience the pickups from this era sound pretty darn good too.

There are many good sounding P90's available in a humbucker format which you can drop right in, no mod needed. I have used both Warman HB90's and GFS Mean 90's. I've even used a cheap no name Chinese P90. They all sound just great, it's hard to find a really bad one.

When I said the damage can be made right again, that's true. But this is not a cheap repair, there's a lot of damage. If you are not doing the work yourself, be prepared for a fairly large bill if done by a Luthier/repair tech.

It'll be up to you to decide how much you are willing to spend, there's a significant difference between repairing to make it functional and restoring it to original condition!

_________________
"A little song, a little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
Guitars: https://legend.barryeames.com
Music/Pix/Videos: https://getback.barryeames.com


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PostPosted: Mon 20 Dec 2021 01:05 AM 
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Good call. I will listen to the originals before doing a swap. And i'm glad to hear that its not hard to find a good pair of P90s.

Restoring it to original condition . . . are we talking >$1,000? Just trying to get a sense for what range we're in here. Also, do you think any luthier repair tech can handle this? Or is this a specialty job?

I hope you don't mind all the questions . . . i'm new to this!


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PostPosted: Mon 20 Dec 2021 10:32 AM 
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It's impossible to say what it will cost by just looking at pictures of the exterior. It's all speculation on my part.

Because this is a non-standard project, most repair shops will likely bill you by the hour, any where from $40 to $100 depending on your location and the skill level of the repair person.

No one will really know what they're up against until they have it on the bench and disassembled. This is beyond a simple neck reset because the pocket needs to be rebuilt and the surrounding top body reglued and reinforced.

Once everything is physically repaired and playable it is then a question of how much you wish to pay to address it cosmetically to restore the finish and binding.

_________________
"A little song, a little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
Guitars: https://legend.barryeames.com
Music/Pix/Videos: https://getback.barryeames.com


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PostPosted: Mon 20 Dec 2021 07:34 PM 
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Joined: Wed 05 Aug 2009 10:48 AM
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Location: NW Washington State
I'd disagree slightly with Barry- I'd say it's Matsumoku, but without the name on the headstock or label, it's not an Electra for resale purposes. I think the Electra 2229 that sold for $650 was at a good price if it was really clean. Like Barry, I bought a few Mats 10-15 years ago, so it's hard for me to get used to today's prices.

This Orlando selling for $400 is interesting: https://reverb.com/item/44496259-orland ... awsuit-era Looks similar to yours- possibly in better shape- but note that the seller won't guarantee the truss rod. :o The label indicates it's a 5102T which was the model number of the Aria version. Shows that the factory produced similar guitars under many different names.

Are your pickups a little smaller than regular humbuckers? Maybe mini humbuckers would drop in. Do try the originals first.

-Steve W.


Last edited by numbfingers on Mon 20 Dec 2021 10:56 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon 20 Dec 2021 10:55 PM 
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Hmm, dunno.
No doubt the "Kid's" is a Mats but inlays on the neck are different, thinner rather than blocked lik ethe Orlando guitar. It also looks like the bridge mount has had bit of work done to it as well, and the old saddles have been replaced with a Nashville bridge unit on top.

The Orlando guitar is definitely an Aria, but I still have my doubts about the "Kid's" :wink:

_________________
"A little song, a little dance. A little seltzer down your pants." -Chuckles the Clown
Guitars: https://legend.barryeames.com
Music/Pix/Videos: https://getback.barryeames.com


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PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec 2021 09:41 PM 
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Please see update in the OP!


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PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec 2021 10:47 PM 
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It's unclear exactly when Matsumoku became involved with the Aria brand. Semi-hollow guitars from this period were prone to warpage, in particular at the neck joint. The later Arias quality improved drastically over a fairly short period, say about 76 or so.

I have had two of these hollow body guitars. I made wedges for neck shims rather than just a piece at the butt of the neck. The fingerboards had shrunk so I had to dress the fret ends. I had to heat sections of the binding and glue/clamp it as it had separated from the body and one spot on one neck. They wound up decent players. I traded them for an Aria Pro II PE-450 with a broken neck joint that I was able to repair.


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